Court Orders CBN to Immediately Unfreeze 20 #EndSars Protesters’ Accounts

By Alex Enumah

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately unfreeze 20 bank accounts linked to protesters and promoters of #EndSARS and police brutality.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order following the withdrawal of the suit by the counsel to the CBN, Mr Michael Aondoakaa (SAN).

The order, which was for 180 days, was to enable the CBN investigate the defendants of alleged crime.

Although the order was supposed to be renewed upon an application by the CBN, however following the decision of counsel to the CBN, Aondoakaa, to withdraw his earlier application for extension of time and the subsequent decision of the defendants through their lawyer, Chief Femi Falana (SAN), to also withdraw all processes filed against the suit, the judge subsequently struck it out.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Aondoakaa told the court that he had discussed with the counsel to the defendants and in the spirit of reconciliation, his client was withdrawing the suit.

Justice Mohammed, in a short ruling, struck out the suit following the application for its withdrawal.

“All processes filed deemed to have been withdrawn in the spirit of reconciliation, the suit is hereby struck out.

“The order of November 4, 2020 freezing the accounts of the respondents is hereby set aside.

“An order is made ‘de-freezing’ the accounts of the respondents immediately,” the judge said.

The apex bank had filed an ex parte application on October 20, 2020 asking the court to freeze the accounts of the respondents which was granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed.

The court order was addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank.

The court directed the banks to freeze all transactions on the accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as exhibit for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry by the bank.

The 180 days elapsed last week.

Some of the bank accounts holders include: Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

Others are: Adegoke Yusuf, Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.

Speaking to journalists, the counsel to the respondents, Falana, implored the government to stop violating the rights of Nigerians.

According to Falana, as of today, none of his clients has been invited for questioning, interrogated or charged to court for any of the alleged offences for which their accounts were frozen.

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